BDPA Midwest Region – 2016 Virtual High School Computer Competition (#HSCC)
by BDPA Midwest Region Vice-President, Michael Wulf
CHICAGO, IL (bdpatoday)—It was like an “Invasion of the Biggest and Best of the Midwest” as teams converged on the Virtual Midwest HSCC Battlefield to compete for the coveted “Midwest Region Championship”!
BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC) teams of students converged on the Midwest region attending from many chapters. This year Central Illinois, Chicago, Kansas City, New Jersey and Southern Minnesota met up (through use of virtual collaboration technology) Saturday, June 25th 2016 for the grueling 10-hour coding scrimmage (Hack-A-Thon) to exercise their programming and presentation skills in preparation for the National BDPA HSCC competition.
The purpose of the Midwest region’s competition is to refine and allow their BDPA HSCC team coordinators to assess the “technical” readiness of their team while giving the newest students a real taste of what it’s like to compete at a national competition. Although the competition is “virtual” they still follow the same guidelines as expected at the national competition. They must arrive 30 minutes early before the competition starts, be prepared to code writing an application to meet a set of business application requirements provided to them at the last minute jettison in to their team’s shared competition folder, participate in the formality of the event by listening as a regional official carefully reads the problem statement (which is not necessarily easier than that actual problem provided by the National HSCC competition), and an opportunity for questions and answers before they start coding.
It definitely was no easy day. BDPA teams are agile and generally use a SCRUM approach. The students spend the next 7-8 hours chunking and breaking out, organizing, and dividing individual requirements from the programming problem statement to ultimately write their multi-tier solution coding in either PhP, Java, or C# languages. This programming problem includes a live SQL database the students have to build or import a schema to and access data dynamically. The solution must meet modern web standards for dynamic HTML as well as inclusion of application and other cyber-security requirements.
The team has to complete the build of their application by the designated time where they will be given a short break and time to prepare a professional presentation for judging describing and displaying each major functional requirement in their solution.
Technical and soft skills are evaluated by judges in the competition. Because of the virtual nature of the competition they must also prepare a video defense of their application and touch on each programming requirement for judging. This 10 minute or less streaming (unedited) video of their live presentation will be used by an additional second panel of judges from across the Midwest to add to the evaluation and selection the winner. The purpose of the “judging” is really to provide significant and useful feedback to each of the teams as they spend the next 30-45 days preparing for the National HSCC competition at the BDPA National Technology Conference in Atlanta, August 10-13, 2016.
The day isn’t all “coding”. Students are provided breakfast and lunch by their host chapter, students have a chance to introduce themselves to each other from all locations and engage via interactive video collaboration. Each student who participated introduces themselves by answering an “Ice-Breaker” question. The day is carefully scheduled with interviews from regional and national board members – National President Mike A. Williams addressed the students via Skype and even our very own BDPA Founder, Earl Pace, Jr. conveyed his message via telephone. Midwest HSCC competitions have been heavily promoted through social media and streamed live through the BDPA Midwest uStream and YouTube channels (http://Live.BDPAMidwest.org)
Judging for the Midwest regional competition will continue through the week and winners will be announced one week later or by July 2nd, 2016. BDPA Midwest Region sends many thanks to the students, chapter HSCC coordinators, chapter judges, regional judges and the army of volunteers to make this happen for the students!
A special thank you to Joel Johnson (Central Illinois) and Sandra Cabral (Southern Minnesota) for helping organize, coordinate and run this year’s Midwest regional competition!
Thanks to the dedicated chapter HSCC Coordinators for making our 10th Annual BDPA Midwest Regional a huge success!
BDPA Central Illinois (Joel Johnson)
BDPA Chicago (Tre Giles, Malik Swanson)
BDPA Kansas City (Jerome Middlebrooks)
BDPA New Jersey (Kyle Leland-Rivers)
BDPA Southern Minnesota (Sandra Cabral)
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— photos ©2016 by BDPA Midwest Region
Cover photo: BDPA New Jersey TEAM-B